Scraps Galore

For a couple of years I made scrap blocks whenever I was between projects. The method was to combine any bright scraps of whatever size/shape, then trim the block to 6.5″ unfinished. When I had 88 blocks I decided it was time to quit playing around and make them into a quilt, so here it is.

Quilt Stats

Name: 616 Scraps

Designed and made by: me

Finished size; 48″ x 66″

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Of course the scrap pile has only grown larger, so I’m off to start another round of scrap blocks.

Scrap HSTs

HSTs (half square triangles) are the basis of lots of dynamic quilt designs, so of course they’re even better if they’re scrappy. For those who may not know, here’s a half-square triangle block. Each half of the square is a triangle, and of course it helps that they contrast.

Block drawn in EQ8

So after I had made a whole bunch of scrappy squares, I decided to cut them in half diagonally to make scrappy HSTs. I had the perfect white fabric with metallic gold oriental writing to use as contrast.

Of course I tried numerous layouts for the blocks and consulted friends about which to use.

This arrangement was voted out

Eventually I chose the arrangement below because I like the “double twist” effect you get in the center if you look from a distance.

The finished quilt

Quilt Stats

Name: Ziggy Scraps

Designed and made by me

Finished size: 58″ x 78″

Quilted by: Linda

I’m developing a talk about making successful scrap quilts. If you have any ideas I should include, let me know!

Tossed 9 Patch

The other day I considered what to do with my large stash of 5″ squares.

Bin of 5″ squares from a variety of sources

It occurred to me that I might be the only quilter in the world who hadn’t yet made a tossed 9 patch quilt.

Just on the off chance you haven’t made one yet, here’s the drill.

The 9-patch block was 15.5″ with raw edges. Drawing done with Electric Quilt 8.

Start by making a 9 patch (duh). I cut a bunch of light colored 5″ patches and enough red 5″ patches for 22 nine-patch blocks, then used various 5″ squares from my bin for the four corners.  (Yes, that only got rid of 88 5″ squares. Still…)

I included some old favorites from the 5″ bin:

Blueberry fabric bought in Maine, one of the Moda wildflower fabrics, the fruit ladies from Elizabeth’s Studio, and some of my favorite metallic dot fabric.

After assembling the 9 patch blocks, I cut them in quarters, resulting in 88 blocks like this:

This is one quarter of the original 9-patch block. Drawing done with Electric Quilt 8.

When all my 88 blocks were made, I played with layouts until I had one I liked. There are a lot of different ways to cut the 9 patch block, and even more ways to lay out the resulting blocks, so it took a while.

After it was quilted, I decided on a blue and white striped border, which I cut on the bias.

And here’s the finish:

Quilt Stats:

Name: Tossed 9-patch

Designed and made by: me, though of course there is nothing new under the sun, This idea has been around forever.

Finished size: 51″ x 71″

Quilted by: Linda

Super Fans Tutorial

When I showed this quilt last week, I promised a tutorial on how to make the blocks. So here goes!

The first (most important?) step is to choose a block size for which you have a square-up ruler in your collection. This makes the whole process easier, as you’ll see.

No my ruler isn’t a trapezoid, but I had to take the picture at an angle to avoid reflections!

Then choose a couple of strips that are about 2″ longer than the square-up ruler. My ruler trims to 9.5″ (for a finished 9″ block), so I chose strips about 11.5″ long. You can either cut wedges for your strips, or join the strips and then trim the edges to make them wedge-shaped. I had a bunch of 1.5″ strips, so I did the sew-and-trim way.

Continue to add strips to each side, alternating sides. Alternating sides makes it easier to keep the block symmetrical. It isn’t necessary to use 1.5″ strips–you can use any width from about 1″ on up.

Press all seams open to decrease bulk. And when you trim seams to make a wedge, leave at least 1/2″ of width at the narrow end to avoid extra bulk when adding the next strip.

The seam that is circled at the bottom just meets because the strip was narrowed to 1/2″ at that end

The piece will, of course, tend to curve. To counteract that tendency, I sometimes add longer strips to correct for the way the edges want to angle down at both ends.

Here’s a longer strip I added to be sure the edges weren’t curving too much.

Keep checking to be sure the block is outside the edges of the ruler at both the top and bottom of each strip.

And finally comes the happy day when the block is as wide as it needs to be at the top!

From here on you can add shorter strips. Align them at the bottom of the block to start sewing. Keep checking, and when the piece is wide enough, trim all edges with your square-up ruler.

When trimming, I pick a line near the middle of the ruler and lay it along a seam near the center of the block to get everything as even as possible.

I stitched about 1/8″ from the edges

Stay stitch all edges! This is important because you really, really don’t want those seams to start coming undone, and because there are many bias edges.

DONE!

You may notice that the last strips (bottom corners) are a bit wider than the others. That is done to avoid the possibility of having a seam in the block come at a corner when joining to other blocks.

Quilt Stats

Name: Super Fans

Designed and made by me, with inspiration from Pinterest

Finished size: 47″ x 65″ (5 x 9 blocks, 9″ each, with 1″ border on all sides)

Quilted by: Linda

There are 18 pieces in the sample block above. That means the finished quilt has approximately 810 strips. Thank goodness I didn’t calculate that until now!!!

 

Super Fans!

I haunt Pinterest in my “spare time”  looking at pretty quilts. OK, maybe it’s “procrastinating time” rather than actual “spare time”, but you get the picture 😀

After seeing a number of lovely string quilts, I was forced to make lots of string blocks and assemble them into this “super fan” quilt.

There are many similar examples on the internet. I did not use a fabric foundation, as many string quilters do.

I made no attempt to use the same number of strips in each block, and my husband points out that the blocks do vary quite a bit. All good, I say.

I used strips from my scrap bins.

Those scrap bins are filled by cutting all leftovers into uniform strips, which vary in width from 1.5″ to 4.5″. These strips are useful for many things, from tying up packages to adding just the right bit of color to some projects. They do often overflow, though.

Here are a few of the other projects made from the strip bins:

And WOO! Paducah quilt week is only a week away!!! If you’ll be there I’d love to meet you!

Meanwhile, I’ll have a tutorial next week on how I did this fan block.

Wonky

I’m currently on a program of finishing 2 UFOs (unfinished objects) before starting each new project. I caught up quite a bit last year, but there are a few things still to be done.

Most recently I pulled out these swap blocks from a long time ago. They should finish 24″ square. Of course, since they are medallion style blocks, there’s plenty of opportunity for the size and shape to get “off” with each additional border.

There was one in the group that surely was not perfectly square. I put 4 of them together anyway, figuring this could be a picnic quilt and “fixing” the wonky block was way too fiddly.

This worried me a little, even in a picnic quilt. (OK, like most quilters, I’m more than a little O.C.)

Then my daughter came along and said, “It’s not wonky, it’s organic in design!” Ha! So there! Art-speak is frequently useful!

Scrappy Triangle Swap Blocks

I’ve belonged to a block swap group for a long time, but we have done extra during COVID. Here’s the latest, a scrappy triangle block. In case you want to know, it’s made with the tri-recs tool, available several places–just ask Ms. Google.

What we haven’t done is put any of these into a quilt! Here are some ideas on layout:

And in case you’ve never made improvised scrap blocks, here are directions. We’ve been using single-color scraps, but there’s no reason the color scheme can’t be scrappy.

Start by choosing 2 scraps you like and sew them together any way you care to. If one has a curved side, you can choose to sew the curve or cut it off straight.

Trim up an edge so you can add something else.

Keep adding pieces, checking occasionally to see if your template is going to fit on the scraps.

It’s fine to add BIG pieces too in order to move things along.

Press all the seams open. Too much bulk otherwise with all those seams.

Finally, cut around your template and assemble the block.

What templates do you like to use?

Little Jewels

I found a quilt like this somewhere online, and you know I love improvised scrap quilts, so I just had to make it!  (Sadly, I have lost the link, so if you know where this came from originally, please let me know.)

It’s always a great idea to offset the intersecting seams!

My quilter was able to use Minky Dot for the backing and quilt it with no batting. That makes the quilt nice and cuddly without being too heavy.

I have been informed that the grandchildren prefer the quilts backed with polyester fleece for cuddling. The lighter weight of the quilt without batting also makes it ideal for dragging around the house or building forts and tents.

Polyester fleece can be a challenge to quilt because it stretches in at least one direction. The quilter told me that a midarm or long arm quilting machine does not have feed dogs, so stretching was not a problem, though the tension was a problem at times.  I suppose I could do free motion quilting with the feed dogs down on my domestic machine, but walking foot quilting might stretch the back.

Minky backing with no batting allows the quilt to drape nicely

Quilt stats:

Name: Quilted Jewels

Pattern source: anonymous picture on internet

Finished size: 46″ x 62″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

It Happened This Way…

A friend and I made Pat Sloan’s weekly blocks for her Going on a Picnic quilt. It gave us something to look forward to when the blocks came out each Wednesday and we enjoyed exchanging pictures of our blocks. Here’s my finished quilt top, though some of the blocks are NOT what Pat designed. If I didn’t like hers, I just made my own.

Meanwhile, my husband and I decided to lease a house for part-time use near where our grandchildren live. It’s a long story and not about quilting, so I’m not elaborating here. However, it came to mind that the house might not have window coverings. So all my quilt backs got packed to move in case we need temporary “curtains”.

And then I finished the quilt top, now known as “The Elvis Quilt”.

Elvis on The Elvis Quilt

There was no quilt back available, and I wanted to get it to the quilter before the moving van arrived. Therefore, I took all the leftover fabric from the quilt top and combined it with leftover pieces from a gray quilt back, and here it is.

It took all day to do this, with time out for packing, laundry, etc. Now I know why I buy the wide quilt backs. Anyway, a good quilt back is a done quilt back!

Hope you have a good week!

The Latest Baby Quilt

Here’s a quilt made from some blocks for a class I taught,  plus a few 5″ squares that were in the stash.

Look at the very fancy design quilted by Julia Madison!

And here’s a picture of the back.

I liked this quilt so well that I sent it to the newest member of our extended family, since we attended his parents’ wedding and even saw his Mother fairly recently.

Quilt stats:

Name: None; recipient is welcome to name it

Size: 40″ x 40″

Pattern: This is a variation of a block I learned from Barbara Lenox years ago

Fabric: Scraps from many years, as you probably can see!

Quilted by: Julia Madison